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St. Cloud’s Public Utilities Department has been recognized as a Utility of the Future Today for the fourth year in a row. The Utility of the Future Today (UOTF) program honors water resource recovery facilities for their community engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients. This recognition is given by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the WateReuse Association and the Water Research Foundation (WRF).
St. Cloud Public Utilities has always taken pride in living up to our mission statement; to “provide utility services in a safe and cost-effective manner, while providing excellent customer services and environmental protection.” The Utility of the Future Today Award recognizes this mission, and the St. Cloud Nutrient, Energy and Water (NEW) Recovery Facility’s transformation from simple sewage treatment, to being one of the most diversified resource recovery facilities in the nation.
The NEW Recovery Facility has also been awarded the Central States Water Environment Association’s Water Technology Innovator Award in recognition of efforts to look beyond the traditional water and wastewater operational models and incorporate or advance sustainable principles and cutting-edge practices, with a focus on resource recovery, efficiency, and sustainability.
It can be easy to forget about your wastewater after it is carried away, but the water that is safely and quickly carried from your sinks, bathrooms, businesses and homes is actually part of an enormous effort to recover resources and preserve the health of our waterways.
St. Cloud’s NEW Recovery Facility hosts 4 solar arrays to help power the treatment process. During the process, resource-rich waste streams are converted to energy-rich biofuel, which helps power the NEW Recovery Facility. These streams are also processed to remove phosphorous – excess phosphorous can be bad for our waterways. We remove it from the wastewater stream and transform it into a fertilizer component, which is used in areas that are phosphorous deficient, while removing it from local waterways. Waste streams are also transformed into a nutrient-rich biosolids product that helps enrich area farmland. Energy efficiency efforts help carry out all of this work without continually increasing energy demands. All of this contributes to the resource recovery, energy production, water protection, and consistent and continual exceptional service to the residents of St. Cloud without significantly increasing rates.
With the NEW Recovery Facility’s energy efficiency and generation efforts, St. Cloud is providing sustainable, cost-effective services to residents and customers, providing for economic development in the region and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions by thousands of metric tons annually. To learn more about these projects and about why the Utility has been recognized on a national level for resource recovery efforts, please visit the Public Utilities Homepage.